A Minute With: Filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee on preserving 'Wild'

Wed Dec 3, 2014 9:11pm EST
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By Mary Milliken

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When Jean-Marc Vallee went to accept the breakthrough director honor at the Hollywood Film Awards last month, the French Canadian laughed about being a breakthrough at the age of 51.

It is his latest film, "Wild," which opens this week in U.S. theaters, that has definitively opened the doors to Hollywood. He was hired by its producer and star Reese Witherspoon, who bought the rights to the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed and her 1,100-mile hike toward self-discovery.

His previous film "Dallas Buyers Club," made on a shoestring budget of $5 million, led to the "Wild" gig and earned acting Oscars for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Witherspoon and Laura Dern, who plays Cheryl's mother, are expected to earn Oscar nominations.

Vallee spoke to Reuters about what to do now that he has broken through and getting out of the way of his actors.

Q: Are you a director who can do a lot with limited resources?

A: Maybe, yes, it happened with "Dallas." Although with "Wild" we had a comfortable budget and shooting schedule. I can manage and do a lot or what I have to do with whatever the budget is.

Q: Why did you accept Reese Witherspoon's "Wild" offer so quickly?   Continued...

Director Jean-Marc Vallee poses at the Los Angeles premiere of the film "Wild" at the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California November 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok